Opening Night Ruminations

J.P. Finlay

The traffic wasn't too bad. Took us 14 minutes from the Maine Avenue exit off 395 to get out of the car. The poor folks that entered the first base gate must have waited 40 minutes; the line stretched at least two full blocks. The metal detectors were cumbersome but we understood; the nerds who decided to make opening day a political scene were worse. If I had a nickel for each person who made the "Bush messes everything up" joke while waiting on line, those $7.50 beers would not have hurt so bad. It wasn't funny, or necessary, we all knew to get there early. Slightly disturbing though that with all the security I was still able to make it in with 3 airplane bottles, solely for the experiment of course.

We sat in section 135, great seats although the top third of the section has no view of the scoreboard; I sat in row R and couldn't see a thing. The scoreboard is incredible, a feat of modern technology to have a screen that large with such clarity. My group of four guys was celebrating a friend's birthday and we inquired with the Nationals to get my friend's name on the big screen. Officials told us he would be on at the end of the 4th inning. There is a $100 charge for putting birthday wishes on the big screen and the Nats claim it goes to charity. My buddy's name never appeared, and I will update with what the Nats offer in compensation. They did send Screech over, and his costume looked like it needed a good scrubbing. His fur was the same color as the pigeons in front of Union Station; I guess there was no public financing for a new costume. Compliments to the Nat Pack -- nice, attractive young women are much more effective in promoting than a dude dressed up like an eagle.

Zim's walk off seemed appropriate, a seminal moment for lifelong Washingtonians, and the stadium jumped while he rounded the bases. My buddy Jim, the birthday boy, summed the evening best: "I feel like I'm at an away game, being here makes it so hard to believe I'm in DC." Certainly there are issues. Food lines were long at every stand except ice cream, but the feeling of pride is inescapable strolling through the stadium. Field views are excellent, food options plenty, and maybe it was just Opening Night but the staff was open, friendly, and helpful. Nationals Park competes with the best ballparks across the country, right here in my hometown.

By J.P. Finlay  |  March 31, 2008; 11:50 AM ET  | Category:  J.P. Finlay
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Comments

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Nice work on the airplane bottles!

My buddy remembered after he got in that he had a mini-screwdriver (the tool, not the drink) in his jacket pocket. Kinda makes you wonder about the effectiveness of those metal detectors.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 31, 2008 12:02 PM

I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU'D SAY THAT IN FRONT OF AN ALCOHOLIC!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 31, 2008 12:08 PM

I didn't experience any lines on Sat or Sunday ... but am distressed to hear that the Nats are charging $100 for birthday wishes (even if the $$ goes to charity). It's free for Season ticket holders at Camden Yards

Posted by: Marlene | March 31, 2008 12:13 PM

That scoreboard really is something else and if the only complaints on the night is booing the prez and long lines for food I think it was a success.

Its going to be a fun summer in Washington.

Posted by: PStew | March 31, 2008 12:25 PM

I heard the post-game festivities were decent, care to comment?

Posted by: Petts | March 31, 2008 12:27 PM

The Nat Pack has definitely upgraded from years past. I wish they were called the Snack Pack so I could eat them.

Posted by: Fushezzi | March 31, 2008 12:47 PM

I didn't realize that a mini screwdriver or a couple of airplane bottles were a threat to the prez...

Also, I was a bit embarrassed to be a nats fan after the lack of class displayed by booing fans during the ceremonial first pitch who couldn't put politics aside on a night to celebrate the team, baseball, the city of DC, and our nation.

Posted by: Eatery | March 31, 2008 12:48 PM

how was the gay scene?

Posted by: greg | March 31, 2008 12:52 PM

"the nerds who decided to make opening day a political scene were worse."

Amen.

Real classy of Nats fans to boo President Bush last night. Nice way to show your appreciation for the leader of our country, as he takes time out from his insanely busy schedule the night before he travels to Europe for a NATO summit.

Whether you agree with his policies or not--you do not boo the president of the United States at a baseball game. He did not have to be there. The Nationals wanted him to be there, and he made the opener a lot more "special" for the Nats and most of their fans by taking part in the pregame ceremonies, throwing out the first pitch, and staying for most of the game.

And for this--he was greeted with loud boos by the Nats faithful. Hey Dbags, great way to kick off the new stadium... showing the world how classless and petty you are.


Posted by: Barno | March 31, 2008 12:53 PM

I find it rather sad that those of us who smoke are being denied any place whatsoever to enjoy a cigarette. Not in the seating area - fine. But they could not find one out of the way place? The Nationals would have received a good amount of my money, now they will not get one cent.

Posted by: Demonized | March 31, 2008 12:54 PM

I actually saw a smoking area right outside the stadium convienently located directly under the childrens playground. Now that's what I call a sticky situation.

Posted by: Fushezzi | March 31, 2008 12:58 PM

JP involved in PDA? Was this in a supermarket basement or Nationals Park? Now that's what I call a sticky situation.

Posted by: Fushezzi | March 31, 2008 1:23 PM

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -Teddy Roosevelt

Posted by: Anonymous | March 31, 2008 1:27 PM

I'm not sure when I defended tobacco or the war. My point is to separate the ballgame from politics, a concept impossible with some idiots in this town.

Posted by: JP | March 31, 2008 1:36 PM

Did someone just quote the President who keeps losing all the races. No body listens to a loser. Be a winner!

Posted by: Fushezzi | March 31, 2008 1:42 PM

I am shocked that people in DC would allow politics to overlap with a sporting event. Shocked, I tell you!

Posted by: brewer | March 31, 2008 1:50 PM

I heard there was a boogie fight during the 7th inning stretch.

Posted by: Simdog | March 31, 2008 2:01 PM

Hmmm, flicking boogers? Now that's what I call a sticky situation.

Posted by: Fushezzi | March 31, 2008 2:09 PM

hey barno, it's called freedom of speech. get over it.

Posted by: nats fan | March 31, 2008 2:10 PM

The only time i want Teddy's advice on anything it'll be on killing injuns or losing foot races. Thats it, thats the list.

Why make booing the prez a story when it should be solely on baseball back in DC. Respect the office at a non-political event.

Posted by: pstew | March 31, 2008 2:11 PM

I love that JP's comments are in bold. Makes it seem very official.

How bout a shout out to your buddies in section 102. Grape, Barno, Bruce, Meat, and JP (as well as the occasional Skin, Hannukah, PStew, and Agent Springer) will make life a living hell for the opposing bullpen...at least for 20 games or so a year.

Bang.

Posted by: Barno | March 31, 2008 2:14 PM

hey barno, it's called freedom of speech. get over it.

Posted by: nats fan | March 31, 2008 02:10 PM

I'll remember that when I post Nazi memorabilia and swastikas on my front lawn. Just because you have the freedom to do something, doesn't mean you do it. Douche.

Posted by: Barno | March 31, 2008 2:21 PM

Freedom of speech means government can't censor you. Says nothing about anonymous blog commenters shaming you.

Posted by: pstew | March 31, 2008 2:32 PM

Uh oh. Sounds like a race war is heating up. Now that's what I call a sticky situation!

Posted by: Fushezzi | March 31, 2008 2:41 PM

After 1st inning went to get a hot dog and it took 3 innings, no exaggeration. All lines for Nat's Dogs, Ben's, Senator's Sausages, etc. were equally long. People were disgusted with this. With the exception of having to miss 3 innings to get something to eat, perfect night, beautiful ballpark, magic in Southeast!!! Hope someone who can make an improvement in food service reads this! Go Nats!

Posted by: zenasmith | March 31, 2008 2:43 PM

I vote that the First Amendment stop covering the phrases "classy" and "classless".

I didn't boo, nor did I applaud. It's a necessary tradition that I feel MUST take place with Washington baseball. Was happy when it was over and people on both sides shut the f up and concentrated on baseball (or beer, or chili dogs, etc...). The idea that Bush was honoring us with his presence? Bulls*it - the tradition, like the Presidency, is much bigger than that man.

Posted by: Kev | March 31, 2008 2:50 PM

I got a chili half smoke in the Centerfield Plaza after the first inning in about 30 seconds (from the pretzel stand). Seems like the concession stands in the infield portions of the stadium are more congested. Head towards the outfield and the non-Ben's stands. Don't think that concession lines will be an issue at all, other than big weekend games.

Posted by: Kev | March 31, 2008 2:54 PM

Was anyone as bummed out as much as I was that there was not much of a special opening ceremony. NO fireworks. No special first game pennant. No special band. No introduction of Senator old timers. It was just another game.

Posted by: Alan Cohan | March 31, 2008 3:03 PM

Kev stole my big secret about getting a Ben's chili bowl half smoke from Noah's pretzels. Which is a good thing for Noah's because i threw the pretzel out after a single bite. Tasted like a curly W car tire.

Posted by: pstew | March 31, 2008 3:10 PM

I guess there was some time for opening ceremony but those player introductions took forever.

I was real pissed that after Zim hit his walk off and the Nats PA staff had to decide on whether to play Chuck Brown's "bustin loose" (our HR song) or U2's "beautiful day" (our song for a win), they went with the latter.
More Chuck Brown. They should have him shooting DC lottery tickets into the bleachers between every inning.

Posted by: PStew | March 31, 2008 3:13 PM

U2 as our winning song is cheesy. Give us Chuck, or Mambo Sauce, or Ted Leo, show off the DC musicians. As much as it is sorority girl rock, they should play OAR for the winning song; the guys are all local and it's a great sing-a-long tune.

Posted by: JP | March 31, 2008 3:47 PM

OAR is boring. I'm going to contact Lupe Fiasco and see if he'll rap a song for us to play everytime we win.

Songs

7th Inning Stetch: Breathe, Stretch, Shake by MA$E

Home Run: Take Me Home Tonite by Eddie Money

Win: You're the Best Around by Joe Esposito

Posted by: Fushezzi | March 31, 2008 3:55 PM

We should not be surprised that a great number of people attending a late evening baseball game on the night before a workday would feel "entitled" by the First Amendment to so vehemently vocalize their discourtesy to the presidential office. These same people likely felt "entitled" to call in sick to their respective employers this morning because they were "entitled" to time off because they didn't feel like getting out of bed. Ironically, this same entitled person complains incessantly when his employer exercises the same freedom of speech in noting his lackluster performance on the job.

Posted by: Scarlet Nape | March 31, 2008 3:56 PM

What's up Fosheezi, no 90210 theme soung?

Posted by: Simdog | March 31, 2008 4:14 PM

OAR may be boring, but they are friends with the guys at dcsportsfan.com

Posted by: Eatery | March 31, 2008 4:26 PM

I'm not sure the 90210 theme song would fit in anywhere at a ballgame, but it would be cool if Dylan McKay introduced the Nats starting lineup on the Jumbotron one game.

Other songs

After a Nat hit by pitch: What Goes Around Comes Around by JT

After a Loss: Cruel Summer by Bananarama

After Another Teams Error: Nelson Muntz saying Ha-Ha on the big screen.

Posted by: Fushezzi | March 31, 2008 4:26 PM

They should have him shooting DC lottery tickets into the bleachers between every inning.

Posted by: PStew | March 31, 2008 03:13 PM

Amazing idea. I fully support it. What would it cost the nats, a few bucks for the tickets? You know Chuck Brown would probably do it for free.

Posted by: Barno | March 31, 2008 4:27 PM

Just curious: How was the pizza?

Posted by: Eatery | March 31, 2008 4:29 PM

There's nothing wrong with booing the President. He's a big boy, he can take it. If he doesn't want to hear boos he should do a better job.

Bush would have been booed in most cities in America if he showed up to throw out a pitch. It's called 30 per cent approval rating.

It's genuinely troubling to read people suggesting that Americans should just sit on their hands and "respect the office." He's not the emperor. Learn to appreciate what that means.

Posted by: Andy | March 31, 2008 4:36 PM

Agreed on the curly W car tire- those pretzels were AWFUL.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 31, 2008 4:38 PM

And a big AMEN goes to Andy!

Posted by: Anonymous | March 31, 2008 4:44 PM

There's nothing wrong with booing the President. He's a big boy, he can take it. If he doesn't want to hear boos he should do a better job.

Bush would have been booed in most cities in America if he showed up to throw out a pitch. It's called 30 per cent approval rating.

It's genuinely troubling to read people suggesting that Americans should just sit on their hands and "respect the office." He's not the emperor. Learn to appreciate what that means.

Posted by: Andy | March 31, 2008 04:36 PM

What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Posted by: Barno | March 31, 2008 4:46 PM

So is the JP blog going to be the one that turns into useless blogization with serial bloggisations and bickering? I'll skip this one in the future.

Posted by: hoyatron | March 31, 2008 4:51 PM

Barno, do you just cut and paste the same response each time? How was my post "rambling" or "incoherent"? (Do you even know what those words mean?) I pointed out that booing the President is appropriate generally, as well as specifically in this instance given Bush's very poor performance. I also cautioned that suppressing such expressions of disapproval lead us further on the path to tyranny. Do you not understand those terms?

Do you realize how idiotic you seem when you respond to a well-reasoned comment with vitriol and bluster?

Anyway, I'm assuming you're just joking around. So peace to you, too.

Posted by: Andy | March 31, 2008 4:52 PM

I hope JP posts another blog soon so we don't have to listen to this presidential talk anymore. Sooner or later it could come to fisticuffs and that wouldn't be pretty. Actually, that's what I would call a sticky situation

Posted by: Fushezzi | March 31, 2008 6:18 PM

They werent yelling "boo", they were yelling "Boo-ush"; at least I was. Stadium looks great, lots of fun attractions, I can't wait to hit the batting cage and go 0 for 8 in front of a bunch of 6th graders.

Think I'll tune my ears into the PA announcer frequency for next game since my seats don't face the scoreboard. Only bad news is no Ichiro or Sean Green visits this year. Too bad.

Posted by: Human2Ape | March 31, 2008 7:41 PM

Barno: With such a rigid philosophy, Life must be unbearable for you.

Posted by: 1st Base Coach | March 31, 2008 7:45 PM

Fushezzi you're a sticky situation.

Posted by: Fushezzi'smom | March 31, 2008 7:51 PM

Somewhere Jason LaCanforna is smiling knowing that the wrath of barno is being felt on a blog other than his.

Posted by: Eatery | March 31, 2008 11:07 PM

They werent yelling "boo", they were yelling "Boo-ush"; at least I was. Stadium looks great, lots of fun attractions, I can't wait to hit the batting cage and go 0 for 8 in front of a bunch of 6th graders.

Posted by: Human2Ape | March 31, 2008 07:41 PM

Barno doesn't golf. Hitting those pitches was like trying to play golf with a ping pong paddle. Not possible, unless you're 3 feet tall. My boy Grape would be great at it.

Posted by: Barno | April 1, 2008 10:39 AM

I remember in 1972-2004, walking into RFK Stadium for the start of a Washington (nickname) game against their hated rivals, the Other Team, ... no wait, that was me on medication... GAWD YOU BUNCH OF WHINERS. ONE GAME AND WE'RE WORRYING ABOUT SIGHT LINES AND NO STRAWS AND WAITING IN LINE AND PRESIDENT BUSH AND WHAT IS BOOING... GAWD BE HAPPY YOU HAVE A TEAM HERE!!!!!

Posted by: Gary | April 1, 2008 1:15 PM

Gary, Gary, Gary. No need for yelling. America is full of whiners. If you don't like whiners then go to China. Over there whiners disappear. It's true. Not only is it true but, yup that's right, its what I'd call a sticky situation.

Posted by: Fushezzi | April 1, 2008 1:34 PM

I'm actually with Fushezzi on this one. SORRY GARY.

Posted by: Fushezzi'smom | April 1, 2008 1:51 PM

Words JP would never use in person:

Rumination, cumbersome, seminal, purgatory, and last but not least: "a feat of modern technology to have a screen that large with such clarity."

Merrrrr.

Posted by: Barno's mom | April 1, 2008 3:16 PM

The true traffic test will be the first night game next week. That corridor is the main commuting route out to Rt. 4 and Southern Maryland. Lots of traffic stacks up right there on South Capitol Street during the evening commute East. Do yourself a favor, save gas and take the train. One Nats suggestion for mid-week games: open RFK parking in the morning for ticket holders, so they can walk, Metro or bike from work to the game and shuttle back to car after the game.

Posted by: Take the Train | April 1, 2008 9:28 PM

Don't believe the hype- there are bad seats in this new stadium! In fact, the whole Scoreboard Pavilion section is lame- if you're a real fan of the game, it is unacceptable that you can't see whether or not most deep fly balls are caught.

Posted by: kmm88 | April 2, 2008 8:44 AM

I agree. Any seat in the upper half of Section 137 is horrible. Can't see fly balls, can't see the scoreboard.

Posted by: Fushezzi | April 2, 2008 10:06 AM

When are you going to make a second post? Will it be titled; "Subsequent Game Pontifications?"

Posted by: Human2Ape | April 3, 2008 9:19 AM

glad you guys have a good stadium. But going to a Nats game is as useless as a mock turtleneck. They stink

Posted by: The Nats suck anyways | April 3, 2008 10:35 AM

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